MANILA, Philippines — The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center is pushing for the creation of the Department of Water Resources to help in the implementation of projects in the water sector.
During the Water Challenge Forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, PPP Center executive director Ma. Cynthia Hernandez said the agency is supporting the passage of a bill seeking to create the Department of Water Resources.
“As the head of the PPP Center, it is really a challenge for us to be able to respond to the emerging needs for PPPs in the water sector. The creation of Department of Water Resources would be a good start because having that clarity in let’s say regulatory environment, who will we be getting permits from, who will be setting the regulation pricing in the sector, would be key to moving forward with a cohesive approach on the water sector,” she said.
Under the proposed measure, the department would serve as the primary agency responsible for policy, planning, coordination, implementation and monitoring of the development and management of the country’s water resources.
The bill is among the priority legislative measures announced by President Marcos during his State of the Nation Address.
It was also among the priority measures discussed during the first meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council last month.
Aside from the Department of Water Resources bill, the PPP Center is also pushing for the enactment of the PPP Act, which seeks to address ambiguities in the Build-Operate-Transfer law.
“Hopefully, with the policy agenda of the current administration, having priority for the Department of Water Resources and for the PPP Act as priority legislation in Congress, we hope with that foundation in place, we would be able to move forward decisively to help improve the water sector both from the business or financial point of view and also from the viewpoint of meeting sustainable development goals, meeting equity considerations in development as well,” Hernandez added.
Amid interest for PPPs in the water sector, she said the center would want to have a more comprehensive regulatory and policy environment for PPPs and to increase capacity building activities for local government units (LGUs) and water districts.
She said the PPP Center also wants to institutionalize best practices in PPP projects in the sector.
The PPP Center is providing support to LGUs and local water districts in sourcing or procuring bulk water supply, septage and water supply projects.
At present, Hernandez said the PPP Center is providing assistance in the development and implementation of four PPP projects in the water sector.
Of the four PPP projects, she said two are being eyed for bidding by the first quarter of next year.
Louella Desiderio – The Philippine Star
November 13, 2022 | 12:00am